- 6lb Damsons
- 2lb Sugar
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons Citric Acid
- 1/4 teaspoon Wine Tannin
- 1 teaspoon Pectolayse
- 1 teaspoon Yeast Nutrient
- 1 Camden Tablet
- Port, Sherry or Dessert/High Alcohol Wine Yeast
- 5 pints boiling water
One of those drinks that is so good you’ll be counting down the days to Damson time. Just make sure you use the soft, ripe ones & you’ll be sat smugly by the fireside next winter toasting my good health.
Prepare the Damsons by washing them in hot water to remove the bloom. The bloom can cause cloudiness in your finished ‘Port’ which just won’t do. Dry the Damsons on a tea towel.
Depending on where you got your Damsons from, check for maggots/grubs. I know this sounds a bit icky, but unless you don’t mind additional DNA in your finished ‘Port’, I’d take the time to check them. Simply cut each one open with a knife and discard any that you didn’t get to first.
To help break down the Damsons, I bag them up in 6lb bags in the freezer to use throughout the Winter. If you want to make a batch of ‘Port’ straight away, just freeze for one night, then defrost.
Put your defrosted and mushy Damsons into a sterilised bucket, and pour on 5 pints of boiling water in one go (an average kettle only has the capacity for a little over 3 pints so use a pan!).
Once cool, add the Citric Acid, Wine Tannin, Pectolayse & Camden Tablet (this helps kill off any surviving unwanted yeasts). You can go without the Camden Tablet if you want to take the chance.
Cover with cling film and leave for 24 hours.
Add the Yeast Nutrient & sprinkle on the yeast, cover again and place in a warm place.
Check in a couple of hours and gently swirl the bucket or stir.
Ferment for 5 -7 days until the fruit stops rising to form a crust and sinks when you stir it.
Strain slowly into another sterilised bucket containing the Sugar, taking care not to squeeze the fruit as this can cause a haze. If you can, hang the straining bag over a bucket and cover so you can leave for a few hours or overnight.
Stir to dissolve then pour the mixture into a sterilised demijohn.
Warning: fermenting Damsons are quite volatile & can fizz and make a bit of a mess. It is recommended you leave a good 2-3 inch gap when you top up with water. I’m telling you this to prevent you putting your Damson ‘Port’ in the airing cupboard with the clean washing and finding out the hard way. It was touch and go whether this website was going to be called ‘ex-Rector’s Husband’.
Top up with water after paying attention to the above warning.
Leave to ferment & check in a couple of weeks, it is usual you will have to rack the ‘Port’ as a large sediment will have formed. Rack & top up again with water (remembering the warning!).
Check for taste as you can add more sugar to both increase the strength & sweetness.
Keep racking and sweetening until happy.
Fine or filter or both and store for 1 year, then bottle.
Store for another 6 months.
It might be tasty & smooth enough to drink before storing, so make a double batch so at least one makes it the full length of time!